Today, Rep. Monique Smith (D-Fairview Park) signed on as a co-sponsor to the Ohio Fairness Act, bipartisan legislation that would protect LGBTQ+ Ohioans from discrimination in employment, housing and accommodations. A previous version of the Ohio Fairness Act (The Equal Housing and Employment Act) passed the Ohio House of Representatives on Sept. 15, 2009, with bipartisan support. Last General Assembly, the Ohio Fairness Act had 3 hearings but did not receive a committee vote.
“Every Ohioan deserves equal protection under the law. I am very proud to support legislation that will bring us one step closer to achieving equality for the LGBTQ+ community and attract more residents and businesses to Ohio,” said Rep. Smith.
In June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that LGBTQ+ workers are protected from workplace discrimination under federal law. The Ohio Fairness Act goes further by expanding LGBTQ+ protections to include not just employment, but also housing and services in Ohio.
On Feb. 25, 2021, the U.S. House passed the Equality Act, similar legislation which would provide anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, and federally funded programs. The Equality Act now faces an uncertain future in the U.S. Senate.
The majority of Ohio business owners support adding LGBTQ+ non-discrimination to Ohio law, with more than 50 percent saying nondiscrimination laws improve businesses’ bottom lines. More than 800 leading Ohio businesses and organizations have backed the Ohio Fairness Act, which they say will attract workers, increase investment and grow the state’s economy.
The Ohio Fairness Act now awaits referral to a House committee.